Peters: Down and out? Updated

Update: PM Clark will be seeking an explanation from Peters. When asked whether she still had confidence in Mr Peters she is reported to have replied: “There is obviously a conflict of evidence.”

Looks like Peters’ game is up. No more drawing fine lines or hiding behind smokescreens. This morning’s Herald (now updated) reports that:

“Expatriate billionaire Owen Glenn says New Zealand First leader Winston Peters personally solicited a $100,000 donation and then thanked him for it.”

(Copy of Glenn’s letter and Peters’ letter denying key details in it, here.)

In February Peters held up a sign saying “NO” in response to questions about a large donation from Glenn. And abused reporters trying to pursue the matter. Then last month, when finally his lawyer told him of the donation, we — and, more importantly, the PM — were told that Peters knew nothing about it. Peters didn’t solicit it, we were told.

Now we discover that Glenn specifically says that Peters did solicit the donation, and that if this is the case Peters must therefore have known that it was Glenn’s intention to make the donation, at the very least. Glenn says that Peters thanked him for the donation after it was made, which directly contradicts what Peters told Clark.

Glenn says:

“The payment was made by me to assist funding the legal costs incurred personally by Rt Hon Winston Peters MP concerning his election petition dispute, at his request. Mr Peters sought help from me for this purpose in a personal conversation, some time after I had first met him in Sydney. I agreed to help in the belief that this step would also assist the Labour Party, in its relationship with Mr Peters. I supported the Labour Party.”

Peters is disputing Glenn’s account. He says:

“… “at his request” is not factual and does not coincide with my recollections. I believe that I met Mr Glenn many years ago and on the weekend of 13 August, well before the 2005 election, in Sydney, Bledisloe Cup weekend which is the only time I met him in Australia. The “personal conversation” I believe relates to his conversation with Mr Henry, and the “Labour Party, in relationship with Mr Peters”, seems odd now because months before December 2005 New Zealand First had entered a confidence and supply agreement with Labour on 17 October 2005.”

Actually, Peters’ account doesn’t really contradict Glenn’s, except in one respect. Glenn says that he received the donation request “sometime after” meeting Peters in Sydney, which Peters confirms was in mid-August. That first meeting was only about a month before the 2005 election on 17 September. At the time that Glenn made the donation, about three months later, a donation to Peters would arguably have helped the ongoing relationship between Peters and Labour that the parties had entered into.

The only real difference is over who asked for the donation. Peters had better hope that his erstwhile billionaire donor doesn’t have records or witnesses of telephone conversations. If that is the case, his game would be over. Finally.

[Note: Parliament’s Privileges Committee met this morning to continue its investigation into whether Mr Peters broke Parliament’s rules by failing to declare the donation as a personal gift.

Hmm, and did someone mention gift duty? (Hat-tip: Showmethetaxcut commenting on Keeping Stock]



4 Responses to “Peters: Down and out? Updated”

  1. AndrewE Says:

    Lucky for him that Helen needs his votes for the ETS eh!

  2. Tanya Says:

    Winston should go, but I bet he stays. Nothing surprises me anymore, how corrupt our govt is, especially Labour and co.

  3. Inventory2 Says:

    Can Clark afford to hang on to Peters until the ETS has had its Third Reading? Owen Glenn’s letter is pretty damning.

  4. just visiting Says:

    Peters must resign. Followed by John Key. (Hollow Men, p220, Key’s own words).

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